Talk:Honne and tatemae

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The honne/tatemae divide is a universal phenomenon of human experience

I strongly disagree with this. This kind of cognitive split is a disease that has not yet, thankfully, taken over the entire universe.

The alternative to this is to limit your mental horizon to what is currrently socially acceptable. It's mind control instead of control of action. -Ados 21:55, 17 March 2006 (UTC)


Whether or not Tatemae / Honne are universal to all peoples is unknown to me. But it is present in part of my culture. I'm not Japanese, but I certainly understand these to the point of confusion. For example, in Christian culture, at least the one I grew up in, there is an overwhelming presence of tatemae and honne. The Japanese 'proverb' is quite accurate, at least for me. Tatemae and Honne exist in Japan because within the Japanese language, there are absolute phrases and words a person must say to different people at different levels. If you say an informal word or phrase to a person higher than you, or older than you, it is very unusual, and you put yourself at risk of being thought of as "retarded" and ostricized .... same in Christian culture, only instead of being labeled as "retarded" you're in fear of being labeled as a "sinner" or "somone trying to make excuses to sin"


Regarding the proverb, nice though it is, some Japanese people don't seem familiar with it and I've not been able to locate a version of it in Japanese ~ Winterkoninkje 11:22, 23 August 2006 (UTC)


What is the double standard? Could you elaborate with details. People without knowledge of what this double standard is would find it vauge.

Crowded Island Nation Myth[edit]

"Even with modern farming techniques, Japan today domestically produces only 39% of the food needed to feed its people so, before the modern era, close-knit co-operative and the avoidance of conflict were of vital importance in everyday life."

Modern farming techniques have concentrate on the production of high value specialit products. Grain, including rice, production has decreased post war. The Japanese population has doubled in the last 70 years. Had the Japanese maintained population levels of times even as recent as the 1930's and had *not* used modern methods of farming, they would be rice self-sufficiency. In Edo period Japan, the population of Japan was far smaller. This myth that the Japanese have to behave as they do because they are a small island nation population density is just not true. Most agrarian community populations expand to the extent supported by the agriculture. Japan and the Christian West were perculiar in being NON-populous. One British historian argues that this sort of low population density is a condition for modernisation. He claims that this sort of low population density (or not at the limit) was as a result of Christianity encouraged abstention in Western Europe while Japanese ethics allowed "mabiki" or infanticide. I think that he is missing somethign in the latter case, but, in any event the "small over populated island nation" myth is overworked. People are still wheeling it out though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 133.62.200.220 (talk) 08:42, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I strongly agree with that. I think that Honne and tatemae (本音/建前) concepts are linked with the concept of "one homogenous race" (tan' itsu minzoku, 単一民族) which contributes to the myth of "nihonjinron", which supposes that japanese people are completely different with all over people, which is an illusion. A lot of japanese historians, like Amino Yoshihiko or Oguma Eiji for example, studied this concept, and showed that this concept is completely false. Amino Yoshihiko showed for example that Japan is not an island but an archipelago, which is quite different.
More generally people who wrote about honne and tatemae are generally people specialized on management for example and know just cliché about Japan. They generally don't know japanese themselves. There are a lof of conficts and a lot of debates in Japan, also of course in Japan Wikipedia, and these concepts of honne and tatemae, which exist, shoud be studied very carrefully, to avoid a culturalist vision which not correspond to reality. There are also japanese people writing in english, quite nationalist, who want to explain that Japan is fundamentaly different from other nations and denies the universality of human sometimes, which is very dangerous I think.--Furansowakun4 (talk) 21:45, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I have deleted content related to agricultural production. Japan may or may not only have 39% of its food supply generated by its own agriculture – I would have to confirm the statistics for that, and I haven't – but the main reason for this is cheap imports from China and other heavily agricultural countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The only way that Japan has an agricultural economy at all is because, like the United States, Japan provides generous subsidies for its farmers as well as taxes on imports of agricultural products seen as necessary to protect, such as rice. While Japan has had famine in the past, it is incorrect to surmise that the Japanese have only ever been able to sustain an agriculture that could feed 39% of its population, which is what the wording of this article seemed to suggest. This is a modern fact; it is irresponsible to use it to justify concepts which predate modernity.

It's definitely a myth. The Japanese separation of honne and tatemae has been proven to be genetic, and can be observed in babies as well as adults. Japanese babies are very well behaved compared to Western babies, and are less inclined to express their feelings in socially disruptive ways. Which means it is a result of evolution. But Japanese people didn't evolve in a super-crowded environment like modern Tokyo. So there must be some other evolutionary reason. Honne and tatemae is needed in a super-crowded metropolis, but that's not why it exists. 14.203.33.96 (talk) 01:48, 17 April 2012 (UTC)